Rep. Jim Moran  speaking in Arlington, Va., in November 2010.  (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the year.

Moran, who has represented Northern Virginia for 23 years, said he will not seek reelection because “it’s time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next challenge.”

“It’s been an honor to represent Northern Virginia. I couldn’t be more fortunate to have spent my career working with such wonderful people trying to make this one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family,” Moran said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Moran, 68, is a Buffalo native but relocated to the Washington area and immersed himself in Northern Virginia politics nearly 35 years ago, when he first ran for Alexandria City Council. He went on to serve as Alexandria mayor, and won election to Congress in 1990.

Moran has spent much of his time in Congress focused on appropriations. As the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee’s interior subcommittee and a senior member of the defense subcommittee, he has long advocated on behalf of defense spending and the federal contracting industry.

Moran represents an overwhelmingly Democratic congressional district encompassing Alexandria, Arlington and portions of Fairfax County.